ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The European Union has conceptualised a programme called ‘missing migrants’ in memory of Nigerians and other citizens from the West African sub-region who died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
The EU has also budgeted the sum of €25 million (about N5.325 billion) to assist Nigeria and other member-nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to tackle incessant cases of human trafficking in the next five years.
The programme manager of Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa, Ms. Geertrui Lanneau, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday during a workshop on its five years project funded by EU.
The project is an initiative of the Demand Driven Facility for National Institutions in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons.
Lanneau said that the project was aimed at addressing the existing gaps in migration that revolves around human trafficking, slavery and prostitution abroad.
She said, “The total funding for the five year programme is €25 million (about N5.325 billion) for Nigeria and the entire ECOWAS region. Although it is very difficult to give precise figures, many Nigerians have died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
“But in order to track such persons, the EU has conceptualised a programme tagged “missing migrants” for those who did not survive the journey.”
The head of project in International Centre for Migration Policy Development, Ms. Emmerentia Erasmus said, “What is important is that majority of ECOWAS citizens are caught up in the global migration crisis,” adding that, “there are also legal frameworks to protect the rights of migrants in Europe.”
She explained that the project is very significant because it provides a viable platform to train resource persons in the fight against human trafficking.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, represented by Assistant Director/Head of Press and Public Relations, Mr. Josiah Emerole, said the support of the project to the agency was in two components of training resources centre and development of curricula for basic and senior secondary schools with the National Educational Research and Development Council.
“We believe strongly that at the end of these meetings and the entire project, we will be in a better position to effectively deliver on our mandate of increasing institutional capacity in the fight against human trafficking”, she stated.
The NAPTIP boss explained that the current realities and trends involving the migration crisis call for concerted efforts across board to address the challenges in the West African sub-region.